Schmolz+Bickenbach cuts back production

Due to lower demand from the automotive industry in particular, Schmolz+Bickenbach (S+B) is reducing production at its plants in Switzerland and Germany.

In September, short working hours have been introduced at both its speciality bar-making subsidiaries Swiss Steel and Deutsche Edelstahlwerke (DEW), S+B tells Kallanish upon request. Swiss Steel will have two weeks of reduced working in September, following a similar two weeks in May. At DEW, short working hours will apply as from calendar week 38. For the German operations, the company did not specify the duration.

“If and for how long short hours will prevail afterwards depends on the future development of demand. For the other business units, reduced working hours are not envisaged,” S+B says in a statement.

At the end of the second quarter, the order backlog of the group stood at 480,000 tonnes, after having had 571,000t at the end of Q1, and 612,000t at the end of 2018. “We do expect a gradual recovery in order intake at the end of this year, given that the depletion of inventories in the automotive value chain has made progress,” S+B states.

A Swiss newspaper report notes that the company has reduced its intake of production materials, highlighting the purchase of graphite electrodes used at the EAF furnaces. Last week, S+B lowered its guidance for this year’s Ebit for the full year for the second time to a further revised figure of €70-100 million ($77-110m).